Identifying the effects of migration on parental health: Evidence from left-behind elders in China

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Abstract

This study pioneers the application of the New Economics of Labor Migration theory to outline and estimate two opposite effects of labor loss driven by the migration and remittances of adult children on the health of left-behind elderly parents through the changing rural market constraints. We use China's rural household survey data and simultaneous equation econometric techniques to estimate the effects of migration on the physical and mental health of left-behind elders. Results indicate that the loss of labor due to migration has a significantly negative effect on the health of left-behind elders, but remittances from migrants can compensate for the adverse effect. This study provides a comprehensive understanding that remittances from migration relax the constraints on household resource allocations in undeveloped rural areas with imperfect market conditions. Overall, left-behind elderly parents benefit from migrant children both physically and mentally.

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Yi, F., Liu, C., & Xu, Z. (2019). Identifying the effects of migration on parental health: Evidence from left-behind elders in China. China Economic Review, 54, 218–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chieco.2018.11.005

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